Florida Senate - 2019                                     SB 286
       By Senator Albritton
       26-00655-19                                            2019286__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to domestic wastewater collection
    3         system assessment and maintenance; creating s.
    4         403.1839, F.S.; providing definitions; providing
    5         legislative findings; establishing the Blue Star
    6         Collection System Assessment and Maintenance Program
    7         and providing its purpose; requiring the Department of
    8         Environmental Protection to adopt rules and review and
    9         approve program applications for certification;
   10         specifying the documentation utilities must submit to
   11         qualify for certification; providing for certification
   12         expiration and renewal; requiring the department to
   13         publish an annual list of certified blue star
   14         utilities; requiring the department to allow public
   15         and private, nonprofit utilities to participate in the
   16         Clean Water State Revolving Fund Program under certain
   17         conditions; authorizing the department to reduce
   18         penalties for sanitary sewer overflows at certified
   19         utilities and for investments in certain assessment
   20         and maintenance activities; amending s. 403.067, F.S.;
   21         creating a presumption of compliance for certain water
   22         quality standards for certified utilities; amending s.
   23         403.087, F.S.; requiring the department to issue
   24         extended operating permits to certified utilities
   25         under certain conditions; amending s. 403.161, F.S.;
   26         authorizing the department to reduce penalties based
   27         on certain system investments for permitted
   28         facilities; amending s. 403.1838, F.S.; authorizing
   29         additional recipients and uses of Small Community
   30         Sewer Construction Assistance Act grants; providing an
   31         effective date.
   33  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   35         Section 1. Section 403.1839, Florida Statutes, is created
   36  to read:
   37         403.1839Blue Star Collection System Assessment and
   38  Maintenance Program.—
   39         (1)DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
   40         (a)“Domestic wastewater” has the same meaning as in s.
   41  367.021.
   42         (b)“Domestic wastewater collection system” has the same
   43  meaning as in s. 403.866.
   44         (c)“Program” means the Blue Star Collection System
   45  Assessment and Maintenance Program.
   46         (d)“Sanitary sewer overflow” means the unauthorized
   47  overflow, spill, release, discharge, or diversion of untreated
   48  or partially treated domestic wastewater.
   49         (2)LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS.—The Legislature finds that:
   50         (a)The implementation of domestic wastewater collection
   51  system assessment and maintenance practices has been shown to
   52  effectively limit sanitary sewer overflows and the unauthorized
   53  discharge of pathogens.
   54         (b)The voluntary implementation of domestic wastewater
   55  collection system assessment and maintenance practices beyond
   56  those required by law has the potential to further limit
   57  sanitary sewer overflows.
   58         (c)The unique geography, community, growth, size, and age
   59  of domestic wastewater collection systems across the state
   60  require diverse responses, using the best professional judgment
   61  of local utility operators, to ensure that programs designed to
   62  limit sanitary sewer overflows are effective.
   63         (3)ESTABLISHMENT AND PURPOSE.—There is established in the
   64  department a Blue Star Collection System Assessment and
   65  Maintenance Program. The purpose of this voluntary incentive
   66  program is to assist public and private utilities in limiting
   67  sanitary sewer overflows and the unauthorized discharge of
   68  pathogens.
   69         (4)APPROVAL AND STANDARDS.—
   70         (a)The department shall adopt rules to administer the
   71  program, including the certification standards for the program
   72  in paragraph (b), and shall review and approve public and
   73  private domestic wastewater utilities that apply for
   74  certification or renewal under the program and that demonstrate
   75  maintenance of program certification pursuant to paragraph (c)
   76  based upon the certification standards.
   77         (b)A utility must provide reasonable documentation of the
   78  following certification standards in order to be certified under
   79  the program:
   80         1.The implementation of periodic collection system and
   81  pump station structural condition assessments and the
   82  performance of as-needed maintenance and replacements.
   83         2.The rate of reinvestment determined necessary by the
   84  utility for its collection system and pump station structural
   85  condition assessment and maintenance and replacement program.
   86         3.The implementation of a program designed to limit the
   87  presence of fats, roots, oils, and grease in the collection
   88  system.
   89         4.If the applicant is a public utility, a local law or
   90  building code requiring the private pump stations and lateral
   91  lines connecting to the public system to be free of:
   92         a.Cracks, holes, missing parts, or similar defects; and
   93         b.Direct stormwater connections that allow the direct
   94  inflow of stormwater into the private system and the public
   95  domestic wastewater collection system.
   96         5.A power outage contingency plan that addresses
   97  mitigation of the impacts of power outages on the utility’s
   98  collection system and pump stations.
   99         (c)Program certifications shall expire after 5 years. A
  100  utility shall document its implementation of the program on an
  101  annual basis with the department and must demonstrate that the
  102  utility meets all program standards in order to maintain its
  103  program certification. The approval of an application for
  104  renewal certification must be based on the utility demonstrating
  105  maintenance of program standards. A utility applying for renewal
  106  certification must demonstrate maintenance of program standards
  107  and progress in implementing the program.
  108         (5)PUBLICATION.—The department shall annually publish on
  109  its website a list of certified blue star utilities beginning on
  110  January 1, 2021.
  111         (6)FEDERAL PROGRAM PARTICIPATION.—The department shall
  112  allow public and private, nonprofit utilities to participate in
  113  the Clean Water State Revolving Fund Program for any purpose of
  114  the program that is consistent with federal requirements for
  115  participating in the Clean Water State Revolving Fund Program.
  116         (7)REDUCED PENALTIES.—In the calculation of penalties
  117  pursuant to s. 403.161 for a sanitary sewer overflow, the
  118  department may reduce the penalty based on a utility’s status as
  119  a certified blue star utility in accordance with this section.
  120  The department may also reduce a penalty based on a certified
  121  blue star utility’s investment in assessment and maintenance
  122  activities to identify and address conditions that may cause
  123  sanitary sewer overflows or interruption of service to customers
  124  due to a physical condition or defect in the system.
  125         Section 2. Paragraph (c) of subsection (7) of section
  126  403.067, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  127         403.067 Establishment and implementation of total maximum
  128  daily loads.—
  131         (c) Best management practices.—
  132         1. The department, in cooperation with the water management
  133  districts and other interested parties, as appropriate, may
  134  develop suitable interim measures, best management practices, or
  135  other measures necessary to achieve the level of pollution
  136  reduction established by the department for nonagricultural
  137  nonpoint pollutant sources in allocations developed pursuant to
  138  subsection (6) and this subsection. These practices and measures
  139  may be adopted by rule by the department and the water
  140  management districts and, where adopted by rule, shall be
  141  implemented by those parties responsible for nonagricultural
  142  nonpoint source pollution.
  143         2. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services may
  144  develop and adopt by rule pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54
  145  suitable interim measures, best management practices, or other
  146  measures necessary to achieve the level of pollution reduction
  147  established by the department for agricultural pollutant sources
  148  in allocations developed pursuant to subsection (6) and this
  149  subsection or for programs implemented pursuant to paragraph
  150  (12)(b). These practices and measures may be implemented by
  151  those parties responsible for agricultural pollutant sources and
  152  the department, the water management districts, and the
  153  Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall assist
  154  with implementation. In the process of developing and adopting
  155  rules for interim measures, best management practices, or other
  156  measures, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
  157  shall consult with the department, the Department of Health, the
  158  water management districts, representatives from affected
  159  farming groups, and environmental group representatives. Such
  160  rules must also incorporate provisions for a notice of intent to
  161  implement the practices and a system to assure the
  162  implementation of the practices, including site inspection and
  163  recordkeeping requirements.
  164         3. Where interim measures, best management practices, or
  165  other measures are adopted by rule, the effectiveness of such
  166  practices in achieving the levels of pollution reduction
  167  established in allocations developed by the department pursuant
  168  to subsection (6) and this subsection or in programs implemented
  169  pursuant to paragraph (12)(b) must be verified at representative
  170  sites by the department. The department shall use best
  171  professional judgment in making the initial verification that
  172  the best management practices are reasonably expected to be
  173  effective and, where applicable, must notify the appropriate
  174  water management district or the Department of Agriculture and
  175  Consumer Services of its initial verification before the
  176  adoption of a rule proposed pursuant to this paragraph.
  177  Implementation, in accordance with rules adopted under this
  178  paragraph, of practices that have been initially verified to be
  179  effective, or verified to be effective by monitoring at
  180  representative sites, by the department, shall provide a
  181  presumption of compliance with state water quality standards and
  182  release from the provisions of s. 376.307(5) for those
  183  pollutants addressed by the practices, and the department is not
  184  authorized to institute proceedings against the owner of the
  185  source of pollution to recover costs or damages associated with
  186  the contamination of surface water or groundwater caused by
  187  those pollutants. Research projects funded by the department, a
  188  water management district, or the Department of Agriculture and
  189  Consumer Services to develop or demonstrate interim measures or
  190  best management practices shall be granted a presumption of
  191  compliance with state water quality standards and a release from
  192  the provisions of s. 376.307(5). The presumption of compliance
  193  and release is limited to the research site and only for those
  194  pollutants addressed by the interim measures or best management
  195  practices. Eligibility for the presumption of compliance and
  196  release is limited to research projects on sites where the owner
  197  or operator of the research site and the department, a water
  198  management district, or the Department of Agriculture and
  199  Consumer Services have entered into a contract or other
  200  agreement that, at a minimum, specifies the research objectives,
  201  the cost-share responsibilities of the parties, and a schedule
  202  that details the beginning and ending dates of the project.
  203         4. When where water quality problems are demonstrated,
  204  despite the appropriate implementation, operation, and
  205  maintenance of best management practices and other measures
  206  required by rules adopted under this paragraph, the department,
  207  a water management district, or the Department of Agriculture
  208  and Consumer Services, in consultation with the department,
  209  shall institute a reevaluation of the best management practice
  210  or other measure. Should the reevaluation determine that the
  211  best management practice or other measure requires modification,
  212  the department, a water management district, or the Department
  213  of Agriculture and Consumer Services, as appropriate, shall
  214  revise the rule to require implementation of the modified
  215  practice within a reasonable time period as specified in the
  216  rule.
  217         5. Agricultural records relating to processes or methods of
  218  production, costs of production, profits, or other financial
  219  information held by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer
  220  Services pursuant to subparagraphs 3. and 4. or pursuant to any
  221  rule adopted pursuant to subparagraph 2. are confidential and
  222  exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State
  223  Constitution. Upon request, records made confidential and exempt
  224  pursuant to this subparagraph shall be released to the
  225  department or any water management district provided that the
  226  confidentiality specified by this subparagraph for such records
  227  is maintained.
  228         6. The provisions of Subparagraphs 1. and 2. do not
  229  preclude the department or water management district from
  230  requiring compliance with water quality standards or with
  231  current best management practice requirements set forth in any
  232  applicable regulatory program authorized by law for the purpose
  233  of protecting water quality. Additionally, subparagraphs 1. and
  234  2. are applicable only to the extent that they do not conflict
  235  with any rules adopted by the department that are necessary to
  236  maintain a federally delegated or approved program.
  237         7.The department must provide a domestic wastewater
  238  utility with a presumption of compliance with state water
  239  quality standards for pathogens when the utility demonstrates a
  240  history of compliance with wastewater disinfection requirements
  241  incorporated in the utility’s operating permit for any discharge
  242  into the impaired surface water, and the utility implements and
  243  maintains a program as a certified blue star utility in
  244  accordance with s. 403.1839.
  245         Section 3. Subsection (11) is added to section 403.087,
  246  Florida Statutes, to read:
  247         403.087 Permits; general issuance; denial; revocation;
  248  prohibition; penalty.—
  249         (11)Subject to the permit duration limits for a utility
  250  permitted pursuant to s. 403.0885, a blue star utility certified
  251  pursuant to s. 403.1839 shall be issued a 10-year permit for the
  252  same fee and under the same conditions as a 5-year permit upon
  253  approval of its application for permit renewal by the department
  254  if the certified blue star utility demonstrates that it:
  255         (a)Is in compliance with any consent order or an
  256  accompanying administrative order to its permit;
  257         (b)Does not have any pending enforcement action against it
  258  by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the
  259  department, or a local program; and
  260         (c)If applicable, has submitted annual program
  261  implementation reports demonstrating progress in the
  262  implementation of the program.
  263         Section 4. Present subsection (6) of section 403.161,
  264  Florida Statutes, is renumbered as subsection (7), and a new
  265  subsection (6) is added to that section, to read:
  266         403.161 Prohibitions, violation, penalty, intent.—
  267         (6)Notwithstanding any other law, the department may
  268  reduce the amount of a penalty based on the person’s investment
  269  in the assessment, maintenance, rehabilitation, or expansion of
  270  the permitted facility.
  271         Section 5. Subsection (2) and paragraphs (a) and (b) of
  272  subsection (3) of section 403.1838, Florida Statutes, are
  273  amended to read:
  274         403.1838 Small Community Sewer Construction Assistance
  275  Act.—
  276         (2) The department shall use funds specifically
  277  appropriated to award grants under this section to assist
  278  financially disadvantaged small communities with their needs for
  279  adequate sewer facilities. The department may use funds
  280  specifically appropriated to award grants under this section to
  281  assist private, nonprofit utilities providing wastewater
  282  services to financially disadvantaged small communities. For
  283  purposes of this section, the term “financially disadvantaged
  284  small community” means a county, municipality, or special
  285  district that has a population of 10,000 or fewer, according to
  286  the latest decennial census, and a per capita annual income less
  287  than the state per capita annual income as determined by the
  288  United States Department of Commerce. For purposes of this
  289  subsection, the term “special district” has the same meaning as
  290  provided in s. 189.012 and includes only those special districts
  291  whose public purpose includes water and sewer services, utility
  292  systems and services, or wastewater systems and services. The
  293  department may waive the population requirement for an
  294  independent special district that serves fewer than 10,000
  295  wastewater customers, is located within a watershed with an
  296  adopted total maximum daily load or basin management action plan
  297  for pollutants associated with domestic wastewater pursuant to
  298  s. 403.067, and is wholly located within a rural area of
  299  opportunity as defined in s. 288.0656.
  300         (3)(a) In accordance with rules adopted by the
  301  Environmental Regulation Commission under this section, the
  302  department may provide grants, from funds specifically
  303  appropriated for this purpose, to financially disadvantaged
  304  small communities and to private, nonprofit utilities serving
  305  financially disadvantaged small communities for up to 100
  306  percent of the costs of planning, assessing, designing,
  307  constructing, upgrading, or replacing wastewater collection,
  308  transmission, treatment, disposal, and reuse facilities,
  309  including necessary legal and administrative expenses. Grants
  310  issued pursuant to this section may also be used for planning
  311  and implementing domestic wastewater collection system
  312  assessment and maintenance programs to identify conditions that
  313  may cause sanitary sewer overflows or interruption of service to
  314  customers due to a physical condition or defect in the system.
  315         (b) The rules of the Environmental Regulation Commission
  316  must:
  317         1. Require that projects to plan, assess, design,
  318  construct, upgrade, or replace wastewater collection,
  319  transmission, treatment, disposal, and reuse facilities be cost
  320  effective, environmentally sound, permittable, and
  321  implementable.
  322         2. Require appropriate user charges, connection fees, and
  323  other charges sufficient to ensure the long-term operation,
  324  maintenance, and replacement of the facilities constructed under
  325  each grant.
  326         3. Require grant applications to be submitted on
  327  appropriate forms with appropriate supporting documentation, and
  328  require records to be maintained.
  329         4. Establish a system to determine eligibility of grant
  330  applications.
  331         5. Establish a system to determine the relative priority of
  332  grant applications. The system must consider public health
  333  protection and water pollution abatement.
  334         6. Establish requirements for competitive procurement of
  335  engineering and construction services, materials, and equipment.
  336         7. Provide for termination of grants when program
  337  requirements are not met.
  338         Section 6. This act shall take effect July 1, 2019.